In the course of the 2004 European Union accession negotiations, seven new EU member states -the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia -were granted transitional periods during which they could maintain existing legislation restricting the acquisition of agricultural land or forests. They considered these derogations necessary in order to protect their socioeconomic agricultural structure from shocks that might arise from the differences in land prices and incomes with the rest of the EU and to be able to pursue an effective agricultural policy. Land and EU Accession analyzes the agricultural sector in these countries and its evolution since the negotiations and the enlargement. It looks at the impacts of restrictions on the sector and draws conclusions about their relevance and usefulness, as well as the necessity of maintaining them throughout the transitional periods.
Johan F.M. Swinnen is a senior research fellow at CEPS and professor of economics at the University of Leuven. Liesbet Vranken is an assistant professor in the faculty of economics and management, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel (Belgium).